Monday, January 24, 2011

Unique Dining Options in Baguio City

It was the rainy season and the heavens didn't hear my prayers to give us a fine sunny day to celebrate my father's birthday in Baguio City. On early afternoons, the rain would always start pouring but knowing that it would benefit more people especially the farmers, I'm still thankful that at least there was no typhoon. ^_^ The very cold and wet weather did not impede my family's high spirit though. Maybe sometimes, what matters most is the warmth provided by people around you which I'm very lucky to have with my family. ^_^

We started the day by attending the Mass in the Cathedral then dropping by the Pink Sister's Church and heard the choir of nuns practicing. They were singing soulfully that I had goose bumps. Then the rest is spent in going to Baguio's commonly visited tourist attractions and most specially, in food tripping. ^_^ During our three day stay in the City of Pines, I noticed there are dining places as well as foods that are uniquely found in Baguio or can be attributed to Baguio that I want to share with you.

Chuntug St., walking distance from Session Rd or Burnham Park

I found this quaint cafe while I was researching on where to eat in Baguio City. The name itself intrigued me. In my mind, I suddenly saw images of our Intramuros.. mossy stone walls and facade of buildings annihilated by war. When we got there, it turned out to be a garden cafe (that's how I see it) and that some of the materials used in putting up the cafe are the actual ruins of the house and garden owned by an American governor and was destroyed during the Second World War.

They used mostly native materials in setting up the cafe and the floor was made with brick and rock pieces. Pebbles are scattered on some parts of the resto where they laid the ornamental bamboo trees which gives a rustic feel to the diners. There's a part of the roof that was made of glass that added to the charm of the place.

We had breakfast here which means we only have limited options in the menu. For what we ordered though, the plates looked appetizing and when I got to taste my food, the looks didn't fail me. It was tasty and delectable. My folks also had coffee and I was amazed that they were not provided sugar but instead a white colored smooth cube was included beside the cup as a sweetener. Price is reasonable.

Service is good. It didn't take long before they served our orders. Our server wore a smile and he even volunteered to take our family picture. We were also provided with free fruit slices each. Who else would do that, right?

along Session Rd.

This is my second time in Pizza Volante. My first visit back in 2006 (I also have a previous entry for this) is the reason why I'm coming back with my family for lunch. Back then, I found everything superb however I was really disappointed with my latter experience. The restaurant expanded giving more seats to diners but the tables are set up very near each other that even without too many people, I found the place too crowded and uncomfortable. I'm not sure why but the cozy ambiance I felt on my first visit is no longer there.

The prices in their menu is average but I'd rather spend a little more to have a more decent meal. Even the food had gone bad I must say. My sister and I ordered pesto and as much as I don't want to waste food, I was not able to finish mine.. I just can't. In fairness to them, the fish 'n chips and grilled fish are ok. The pizza and the pasta is another case though. The fruit shakes are alright except that I was a bit dismayed that most of what they are offering in the menu were not available that time. I used to drop by even late at night just to buy strawberry shake.

With service, our lady server may be having a bad day that she can't manage to smile at all or just show acknowledgement after we say thank you for serving the food to us. She just kept on putting the food in the table then leaving like she's not seeing anybody. Oh well, I'm not just so sure if I'll ever set foot in Pizza Volante again. I believe in second chances though.

Laoakan Rd - on the way going to Camp John Hay

This is probably one of the most frequented restaurants in the city. When we arrived the first day, we decided to have dinner there but all tables were occupied and we're starving that we're not willing to wait for the next 2 hours. We had them reserve us a table for dinner the following night instead and opted to have dinner in SM Baguio. It might be safe to say that prior reservation in this restaurant is needed.

We we're almost soaked in the rain waiting for a cab that can take us there the following night. We also received a phone call from one of the store reps verifying if we would still be able to make it. (Sorry, we're late)Upon arriving, the place is warm enough that I almost forgot I'm shivering outside just minutes ago. The fireplace is blazing steadily making the place cozier than the other night we're there.

A gentlemen led us to our table and upon sitting, I fully noticed the interior of the cafe. It is exquisite. I was transported to a fairy tales' log cabin located in the heart of the forest ^_^ I adore how the cafe was designed, it is simple yet is very pleasing to my senses.

The food is also something that might have added to the fame of the cafe. They serve both western and local cuisine. I loved what I ordered, everything is delicious. The price is higher than average but it's worth it.

One thing they can improve though is their service. Servers are all polite, they seemed to be attentive to what we needed but one downside is that they were not able to serve my dad's order on time. It took a really long time (and I'm not exaggerating) for his main course to be served even after doing follow ups that he got pissed and decided to just leave. We hurriedly finished our meals (but dessert is to be served yet.. hehe) then left right away and that's the end of it. It's sad because that dinner is supposed to make him feel special, it was his birthday :(


Almost every morning when I'm done with my night shift, I buy taho in front of our office building and I'm enjoying it while waiting for the next bus to arrive. When we went to Lourdes grotto, I heard a man shouting strawberry taho so I approached him and bought 3 glasses. Strawberry is one of my favorite fruits and like a child, I curiously watched the vendor as he's preparing the taho, I even asked and might have persuaded him to add more strawberries in the glasses. (Thank you kuya!) It doesn't taste special, the concoction he added tastes like the strawberry jam in glass jars but it's not too sweet and it complimented the blandness of the soya. What's special though is it was my first time to taste taho in strawberry flavor.

When we we're in Trinidad Benguet, a dirty ice cream vendor passed by the shop where we were buying pasalubong. It usually is cheese, chocolate and ube flavor in Manila but we're in Baguio so it makes sense to ask for a strawberry flavored ice cream right? Kuya said he has. I eagerly waited for the first cone. I was happy again! It really tastes like strawberries! Probably by now you wouldn't doubt that I really love strawberries.

One of the pasalubongs we bought is Strawberry wine. I'm not sure if they have it in other countries but in the Philippines, If I am right, Baguio is the first and only province that offers it. I did taste it and I didn't like it. It's a bit sweet but maybe I just wasn't born an alcoholic. To those I'm having Red Horse drinking sessions with, please be quiet. lol!

And oh, I almost forget, Vizco's along Session Road sells Strawberry shortcake. You might want to try it the next time you're in the area. It will be perfect while having coffee with your significant other. ^_^

Time is really fast and we've spent three days in the city. It has a lot to offer..things and places that shows the distinct and unique Baguio. I hope to explore more of the city in my next visits. For now, I'll just relish the memories the cold yet warm city left me.

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